Time for some summer reading!

Welcome to arts, ink., where our student artists and writers are given a forum to illuminate the U-M student experience through art. Take a few minutes this summer to sit back, relax, and look back on some of our favorite posts from the last year by perusing the Summer 2024 Reading List tag!

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S3 Scribble #20: The Wire

“You know, there’s no rhyme or reason for the way it turned out to be.”

My friends and I were talking a couple of days ago about how busy we are going to be from now up until graduation. We’ve had exams and papers due this week, and in just a few more weeks, we will have to take final exams for the last time as undergraduates. Attempting to stay on top of schoolwork and extracurriculars while also trying to fit everything else in before I leave Ann Arbor while graduation is fast approaching means that my days and weeks fill up very quickly. This week has been no exception – I am currently writing this at a time where I was supposed to be busy, but my plans got canceled at the last minute – (disappointing, but my writing, both for this blog and for a paper that I’m working on that is due on Friday, will surely benefit from it).

“I didn’t go and try to change my mind, not intentionally.”

Bittersweet is a word that has been on my mind a lot recently. That’s what led me to the song for my blog this week: “The Wire” by HAIM. While the song is about a breakup, I see parallels between the lyrics and my current situation as a senior. It’s hard to know that the end of an era is near, but it’s comforting to be reminded that I’m going to be okay regardless. While I know this to be true, with such mixed emotions in the air, I’ve felt undeniably overwhelmed this semester, and not just because I’ve been busy. 

“I know it’s hard to hear me say it, but I can’t bear to stay in.”

Finishing up my undergraduate degree and moving into a new future means I have a lot to think about, a lot to worry about, and a lot to be excited about, all at once. It’s not surprising that I’ve been abnormally emotional these past few weeks. After this post, I will only have four Song Scribbles blogs left before I officially graduate, and I’m starting to feel a natural ending in sight. Although I’m going to miss writing these blogs, living among all of my friends, and taking classes in Ann Arbor, I’ve also got a promising future on the horizon that I can’t wait to experience.

“I just know, I know, I know, I know that you’re gonna be okay anyway.”

Listen to The Wire by HAIM here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Vh0iP5BziQ

Witness the Small Life – Bird Brained

Oh what bundles of joy we were this past week! Maybe joy is thinking too positively, but bundles yes we were. COLD!! With a capital C-O-L-D is all I, and the rest of Ann Arbor, felt all day every day. Some glimpses of the sun poked through here and there, thankfully, but I almost gave into excavating my winter jacket from the depths of storage. No dice, however! I couldn’t do it in fear of manifesting even MORE snow than we already had.

This week, I was all ears! A fun fact about me is that I way too often listen to YouTube video essays on my commutes across campus. This is due to falling in and out of listening to music hardcore and thoroughly, mostly because I suffer intensely from favorite song burnout. This week, though, I’ve felt a huge draw back to my tune-bumping roots. Because of this, I came to realize how 3 of my favorite artists (as above) all have bird-related names. As an angsty tweenager, I felt extremely drawn to birds, all colors and kinds, as a symbol in my artwork. Visual symbolism is my JAM (no pun intended). They represented the worldly freedom of mind and body so I longed to have as a kid cooped up with her younger sisters much of the time. In my musical realizations this week, I’ve been able to reconnect with that version of myself and reflect on where I was then and where I am now. I have so much freedom to explore, learn, and create now while here in college and I am so thankful for that everyday. I wish I could show my younger self this adventure we’re on and to tell her to slow down her internal rebellion and enjoy the world as it was back then. Although I can’t time-travel and break all laws of science, I hope the pieces of her that are still in me have been able to appreciate all of the craziness and joy we’re experiencing in our new freedom together.

TL;DR: Listen to music, indulge your inner child, and appreciate the birds in our lives. We all need love for ourselves in all versions, forms, and ages we exist in.

To take us into our next week:

Ins: Choppy layers, the Hex Girls (always!), tasteful caricature drawings, wolf t-shirts, gossiping in UMMA, the color amber, a healthy ratio of normal socks to crazy socks.

Outs: Ice cream when Mojo is freezing, not cleaning your water bottle (do it!), a rigid 5 year plan, letting your jealousy fester, a bedtime of 2am.

A very cold, but happy Spring Equinox and here’s to all the birds frolicking amongst the snow and playing wonderful songs across our eternal pathways.

Chapter 5

Hello, and welcome back to Captured Moments! This week, I found a very interesting and eye-opening article on the worsening conditions of the music industry. As a pianist, I am always looking for the newest updates on AI in the music industry. One specific part of this article caught my attention as it states, “there’s a new, horrifying AI tool called Sun.ai that lets anyone create a full-length song with AI generated lyrics in the style they want.” Personally, I think this is amazing in terms of how far technology has come. It can be fun for anyone to play with and experiment. Additionally, I enjoy playing and producing music, and AI can definitely be a helpful tool for me. On the other hand, I am scared of the lack of acceptance towards emerging artists. The article links this idea with Taylor Swift. If the next Taylor Swift enters the music industry, will the industry reject the singer due to AI’s advanced music making? If anyone can create music simply using AI and without inputting creativity, the music industry ends up pushing away talented artists. I am worried for the future of the music industry as AI continues to have a prevalent role. There are so many pros and cons to AI’s role in the music industry, which is why I enjoy talking about it. See you next week!

I have linked the article for further reading:https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source=web&rct=j&opi=89978449&url=https://www.themarysue.com/the-state-of-the-music-industry-is-so-grim-even-taylor-swift-probably-cant-save-it/&ved=2ahUKEwiu_e3bmouFAxWGjIkEHfX5BB8QxfQBKAB6BAgLEAE&usg=AOvVaw12aci1d9Y3us12vQmSz_qz

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The Art of Involvement #3

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Reflections on the event “Silenced and Forgotten Palestinian Literature and Art” lead by Arabic Language and Culture Club, with support from SJP

This piece acts as a reflection surrounding poetry as a part of the Palestinian identity and Free Palestine Movement, observed by me as a student on the University of Michigan-Dearborn Campus.

Here on the slopes of hills, facing the dusk and the cannon of time
Close to the gardens of broken shadows,
We do what prisoners do,
And what the jobless do:
We cultivate hope.

Mahmoud Darwish, Under Siege

As far as I know, there has always been an organization called “Students for Justice in Palestine” at the University of Michigan-Dearborn. Of course, I know that there is a strong Arab American community in Dearborn, and I knew that there was a Center for Arab American Studies, but I hadn’t seen as many events as I do now. Maybe I did, but as a white person, never felt like it was my place to attend them. 

It is only in the last 6 months with the emergence of protests, collective action, and a flurry of educational events being organized on my campus that I have begun to understand that I can choose to take an active role in allyship, that it wouldn’t be “intrusive” to be in spaces that needed to reach people like me.  I regrettably have to admit that I am not the fierce advocate I should be, but I am learning. 

Meeting new people and learning more about the long-standing oppression of the Palestinians has been a key motivator in my desire to take action, speak, and yes, write on behalf of the cause of liberation. I’ve noticed that art and poetry in particular has been an effective way to share the historical oppression and genocide of the Palestinian people. Perhaps art makes the subject more accessible and cuts to the heart of human experience. In particular, how the human experience has been impeded and forced through unimaginable circumstances. Horror beyond my comprehension, yet life and hope remain.

I have now attended 2 events on Palestinian poetry. The first (which will be discussed in this post) featured poems presented by UM-D professors. Due to a late start and my carpooling, I was only able to attend the first part of the event. I took notes as I listened in an effort to get the most out of the poem scholarly analysis that followed, and this post is based on these notes and my reflections of an event I attended months ago and just decided to write about now due to its impact on me and connection to other events.

As the event kicked off, it was clear we were not going to be thrown into the reading blindly. I appreciated the context established by the professors leading the event, who shared the history of the Palestinians and their decades long struggle with Israeli occupation, from the 1948 Nakba to current day. There was also special attention given to how and why those who seek to oppress target art and poetry: to control the creative is meant to control the thought and enforce submission to the regime in the spirit of the event: Silenced and Forgotten Palestinian Literature and Art.

We were told that there was and is a frequency of kidnapping and assassination of Palestinian’s who write about and question life under Israeli occupation, and my chest panged thinking of Refaat Alareer (whose poem “If I Must Die” follows me wherever I go) and countless other great thinkers, poets, artists, and journalists who have died under siege with their people.

We were also informed of a theme to seek out in the poem by Palestinian Poet Mahmoud Darwish that would be read to us to start, and one I noted as particularly interesting was the theme of the Palestinian body. The control of the Palestinian body, the loss of legal rights and the right to live were mentioned, as well as the Palestinian body as a symbol for the people and the land. In my notes, I inscribed the body being “not a passive object or victim, but a fighter.” The body is not defeated. And often, it feels like the body is all can be had.

My steps are wind and sand, my world is my body
and what I can hold onto.
I am the traveler and also the road.
Gods appear to me and disappear.
We don’t linger upon what is to come.
There is no tomorrow in this desert, save what we saw yesterday,
so let me brandish my ode to break the cycle of time,
and let there be beautiful days!

– Mahmoud Darwish, A Rhyme for The Odes

This event was crafted in a way that made art a vehicle for learning more about history, the political situation Palestine is afflicted by, the silence and betrayal coming from their neighboring nations, and connecting with the experiences of Palestinians. All of these intricate topics were tied into discussion through a poem recounting a story of martyrdom, Ahmad al Zatar.

This is why art has an essential role in resistance. For oppressed people, art is not only a way to communicate but a way to exercise their humanity and spirit which their oppressors attempt to crush completely. However, for those seeking to be allies, art is just an entry point to the broader movement and conversation. Art brings us together, but we bear the responsibility to not only engage in, but maintain the dialogue prompted by art in hopes that it sparks action to shape a better world.

aSoSS 18 | Disbelief

Bro just asked me if I’ve ever tried putting ice cream on a cookie. As if I’m not a fatass!

Mosher-Jordan Dining Hall, 7:30PM, 1/31/2024

before it came crashing down you once said we all end up in the same place. like life is a stomach and we are forced to churn. water can flow down the wrong pipe // seeds can sprout in lungs // i could give in or give way or give up and would that be so bad? spin the wheel of fortune, grab a wedge of sunlight, shrink down into the abyss that follows. this is nice, you think, a noiseless descent into the vault of memory. no bad angles, just perfect planes. when biting into an animal cracker, aim straight for the heart.

You live in a house? Like a mailbox and a driveway and a backyard and everything?


What is this? What kind of sorcery is this?

Hot Topic, 2:00PM, 1/14/2024

to make the argument about human necessity is to implicate man as an accessory. downfall is self-assembled, like a robot. ants among giants, ogres among angels–elected because they could reach the heavens, and scolded because they would not leave. a beanstalk, chopped down, falling to the earth like the fallen logs that lined the fence to the elementary school. i taste the odor of gas and smell the chainsaw’s teeth and i know another one has fallen.

–and yet i walked up to the house, past the rubble, between the beams that lifted the structure into the sky. i lived, i lived–

I get drinks by asking for a water cup.

Okay, well I’m nice and I pay for my drinks, plus I have the Panera Sip Club…

I’m sorry that you have morals.

Glen/Catherine Outbound, 12:00PM, 1/27/2024

it is always easier to talk about something that is lost. even easier when the object is subjective, when there are strains of doubt that can seep into the pavement, tearing up the stairs and the highways and the purgatories that lie beyond. have you lost your mind? your wits? your morals? a quantum experiment, schrodinger’s reply, yes and no shattered against a backdrop of an infinite outcomes. flip one of the switches, true-to-false, and you will survive, won’t you? change all of them–a novel binary, encoded in the scraps of your imagination–and you loop to the person you once were.